Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece and I am not a professional photography nor branding or marketing master. Please take this with a grain of salt.
If you've been following my work for a hot minute, you know that I favor the darker backgrounds. Deep grey tones, for instance, are my favorite, most notably, in their ability to makes me feel, as a buyer, like I'm having a relationship with the product and seller. It feels personal, comfortable, and inviting. While I have shot with a white background, generally speaking I find it too stark or sterile for the intimacy I'm hoping to embrace and, ultimately, share through my work.
These are opinions, of course... personal preference, if you will, based on my own shopping experiences. And that's not to say I'll disregard products on white backgrounds. In fact, studies in marketing suggest white backgrounds result in more sales! Even sites like Shopify recommend white backgrounds over black. Some e-commerce platforms actually demand white backgrounds as a prerequisite to sell. And, when creating a line sheet for wholesale selling (you can find out what a line sheet is here), white backgrounds are definitely the standard.
So, let's talk a little about the pros and cons of black, white or grey backgrounds.
White Backgrounds PROS:
Pure Black Backgrounds PROS:
Shades of Grey (the happy medium):
Grey is (in my opinion) the best of both worlds, but comes with it's own set of challenges. There's no easy program to help obtain branding or color consistency (that I've found so far) which doesn't result in an artificial or photoshopped look, so the work needs to be done in camera and in the style of the photography. Shades of grey tell a story, set a mood that speaks beyond the product itself, without falling into the trap of associations we might often make with other solid color backgrounds like red or orange, for instance. But it works almost universally for product photography.
The Wrap Up:
In the end, it's ultimately up to the seller to decide what fits his or her branding the best. It's far more important to focus on the consistency and style of the photography than in the color of the background. And to be sure you're telling your story the way you envisioned, through your products and also the way in which you present them to others.
For more on product photography, check out this blog post, or the videos below!
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